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Sunday, November 29, 2009

"Fantasia 2000" (1999) [Series] - Flamingo and Snotty 6 Cels

More "Fantasia 2000" items in the Cowan Collection....

This is one of my all-time favorites. There is something about about the nonconformist Flamingo that I liked (maybe all of us believe we are nonconformists).  This particular image seemed to be a great summary of the Flamingo and the Snotty 6 characters -- an aspect of the art I try to collect...  The piece consists of two cels: one of the Flamingos and another cel of the water effects.  The music is performed by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, conducted by James Levine.   Camille Saint-Saëns - The Carnival of the Animals: Finale.  Introduced by James Earl Jones.  Hope you enjoy it...

Flamingo and Snotty 6

----- DATABASE NOTES -----

From “Fantasia 2000” (1999).  The Flamingo looking the other way with the Snotty 6.  A very contrary visual image of a nonconformist in the middle of the pack.   [ From Sotheby's: While the Snotty 6 are walking in unison, the Flamingo plays with his yo-yo.  (Note: This is a two cel setup.)  12.5x16-7/8 ]  Sotheby's sale 7491, Lot 193.   BACK: "#1215083  SEQ 6  SCN 4/7"  [Image: 15-1/8"W x 10-9/16"H]  SeqID-0710

The music is performed by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, conducted by James Levine.   Camille Saint-Saëns - The Carnival of the Animals: Finale.  Introduced by James Earl Jones

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

"Fantasia 2000" (1999) [Series] - Baby Whale and Parents Setup and Master Background

More "Fantasia 2000" items in the Cowan Collection...

An interesting segment in which the whales end up flying through the air.  This setup includes two cels (one of the whales and one of the bubble effects) on the Master Background.  This had a nice feel to it -- a flowing quality, curiosity and hope...

Two Cel Setup On Master Background

The entry in Wikipedia notes:

Ottorino Respighi's Pines of Rome – this segment features a family of frolicking humpback whales that are able to fly due to a supernova. At one point, the whale calf is separated from his parents when he's trapped in an iceberg, later finding his way out with his mother's help. The final section, the Via Appia gives the impression of the larger pod of adults in migration.

----- DATABASE NOTES -----

From “Fantasia 2000” (1999).  Baby whale and parents near iceberg.  Note: This is a two cel setup on master background.  Notes:  BACK: "#123408  SEQ 10  SCN 49"  [Image: 15-7/8"W x 10-15/16"H; Frame: 25-1/2"W x 20-1/2"H x 2" deep]  SeqID-0709  8/4/2005

Friday, November 20, 2009

"Fantasia 2000" (1999) [Series] - Limited Edition Signed By Joe Grant

This is a great little piece...  This Limited Edition ( number 244 out of 300) of Mickey and Yen Sid (Disney spelled backwards) is signed by Joe Grant (1908-2005), who helped lead the development of Fantasia and also helped in Fantasia 2000.  Mr. Grant left the studio in 1949 to run a ceramics business, but returned to Disney in 1989 to work on Beauty and the Beast.  He worked four days a week and died while working at his animation board 9 days short of his 97th birthday.

Mickey & Yen Sid Limited Edition Signed By Joe Grant

Here is more information on Mr. Grant from Wikipedia:

Joe Grant (May 15, 1908 – May 6, 2005) was a Disney artist and writer.

Born in New York City, New York, he worked for The Walt Disney Company as a character designer and story artist beginning in 1933 on the Mickey Mouse short, "Mickey's Gala Premiere". He was a Disney legend. He created the Queen in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. He co-wrote Dumbo. He also led development of Fantasia and Pinocchio.

During World War II, Grant worked on war cartoons including the Academy Award winning Der Fuehrer's Face. He left the Disney studio in 1949 and ran a ceramics business and a greeting card business but returned in 1989 to work on Beauty and the Beast. He also worked on Aladdin, The Lion King, Pocahontas, Fantasia 2000, Monsters, Inc. and Mulan among others. The last film he worked on before his death Chicken Little, was dedicated to him.

Grant worked four days a week at Disney until he died, 9 days short of his 97th birthday. Grant's final project, "Lorenzo", for which he conceived the idea and helped storyboard, received an Academy Award nomination in 2005.

Joe Grant died of a heart attack while working at his drawing board in his studio. He is interred in the Forest Lawn Memorial Park Cemetery in Glendale, California.

A large collection of his caricatures is owned by the Smithsonian Museum.

Lady from Lady and the Tramp was based on a pet Springer Spaniel named Lady owned by Joe Grant, it is said by his daughter on the DVD (Lady and the Tramp) that Walt Disney thought the dog's long fur looked like a dress and suggested creating a story board featuring his dog.

----- DATABASE NOTES -----

From “Fantasia” and “Fantasia 2000.”  Entitled: "A Lesson Learned" as Mickey hands back the magic hat to Yen Sid (“Disney” spelled backwards).  Limited edition (244/300) cel of Mickey and Yen Sid (Disney backwards). Signed by Joe Grant. From Sequence 7, Scenes 87 & 88. Certificate of Authenticity.  [Image:  13-1/2"W x 17-1/2"H. Frame:  23-1/4"W x 27-1/8"H]  SeqID-0449  8/3/2005

Thursday, November 19, 2009

"Fantasia 2000" (1999) [Series] - Preview of Holdings

Items in the Cowan Collection from "Fantasia 2000"...

It seems like "Fantasia 2000" is often overlooked and is overshadowed by the focus on the innovative "Fantasia" piece.  We don't have many items from "Fantasia 2000," but they are nice, original pieces on the Master Backgrounds.

Items To Be Featured

Here is some great information on "Fantasia 2000" from Wiki:

Fantasia 2000, also known as Fantasia Continued in pre-production and concept, is a 1999 American animated feature film produced by Walt Disney Feature Animation and released by Walt Disney Pictures. A sequel to 1940's Fantasia, the film is the thirty-eighth animated feature in the Walt Disney Animated Classics. It premiered in the United States on December 17, 1999. As with its predecessor, the film visualizes classical music compositions with various forms of animation and live-action introductions. Set pieces are introduced by a variety of celebrities including Steve Martin, Bette Midler, James Earl Jones, Penn and Teller, Itzhak Perlman, Quincy Jones and Angela Lansbury.

Most music is performed by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra with James Levine conducting all numbers except The Sorcerer's Apprentice. Levine also arranged most scores, except two pieces arranged by Peter Schickele.

The plan for the original Fantasia movie was for it to be a kind of permanently running show, periodically adding new episodes while others would be rotated out. However, the film's failure to achieve success at the box office, combined with the loss of the European market due to World War II, meant that the plan went unused. Accordingly, Fantasia 2000 implemented this idea by retaining the sequence with Mickey Mouse as the sorcerer's apprentice, arguably the most popular segment from the original film.

Composer André Previn reports in his book No Minor Chords that he was approached by Disney to work on as a sequel to Fantasia. He declined the project when he learned that the soundtrack was, at that point, conceived of as an orchestration of Beatles songs.

Development for Fantasia 2000 began in 1990, and production began the following year. The music selections were made as a collective decision by Roy E. Disney, James Levine, and members of the production staff. Most were decisions driven by the musical preferences of the team; Roy personally chose the Pines of Rome. Other pieces were discovered long after the story ideas were set, such as the Steadfast Tin Soldier, where the visuals were based on artwork done for the original Fantasia, but the Shostakovich piece was presented to the team by an animator relatively late into the production schedule.

Fantasia 2000 was originally scheduled for a release in the mid 1990s with the name Fantasia Continued; it was later renamed Fantasia 1999 until the release date was moved into 2000. In order to tie Fantasia 2000 to the original idea of a rotating program, three sections from the original Fantasia were intended to remain in Fantasia 2000. However, only The Sorcerer's Apprentice made it into the final release. The late addition of Rhapsody in Blue replaced Dance of the Hours a year before release, and the Nutcracker Suite was a part of Fantasia 2000 until a few months before it reached theaters. After several test screenings and after much of the publicity material had already been produced, the Nutcracker Suite was removed to shorten the running time of the movie.

Rhapsody in Blue was a work already in progress by director Eric Goldberg (lead animator for the Genie in Aladdin, also inspired by Al Hirschfeld's art), when Disney approached him to complete the piece for the movie. This decision was ideal given the head start on the work and so that the film could include a work from an American composer. Taking on Rhapsody in Blue also allowed Disney to keep the animators assigned to their feature Kingdom of the Sun (later released as The Emperor's New Groove) busy while Kingdom went through an extensive rewrite. Some press articles written after the completion of Groove reversed the roles, saying that Goldberg first approached Disney for Rhapsody for Fantasia 2000 and was initially rejected, and later the producers came back to him as a result of the need find something to do with the animation staff while the Kingdom rewrite was going on.

One significant difference in the musical styles between the films is that in Fantasia 2000 the piano features prominently in more than half of the selections, while the original Fantasia did not have a piano in any segment.

Fantasia 2000 features many technical innovations that would later be utilized in the Disney studio's other animation works, particularly in the use of computers. Both Pines of Rome and The Steadfast Tin Soldier were primarily CGI pieces, completed before Pixar's landmark film Toy Story was released. The horns on the elk in The Firebird were CGI-rendered on top of hand-drawn animation (giving them a higher consistency, when compared to Bambi which was all drawn by hand), a technique that would be used in Treasure Planet for the character Silver.

The producers felt that some break between the musical segments was necessary to "cleanse the palate", so a series of "interstitials" were directed by Disney animation producer Don Hahn. Instead of using a single narrator as in Fantasia, the individual pieces are introduced by people from different areas of the art world. After the film opens with Beethoven's Fifth, Steve Martin discusses the history of Fantasia being a continuing concept and is immediately followed by Itzhak Perlman, who introduces Pines of Rome. Quincy Jones leads into the Gershwin number, and Bette Midler gives an introduction to the Shostakovich concerto, both featuring on screen the piano players for the respective pieces. James Earl Jones introduces Carnival of the Animals with director Eric Goldberg, and, appropriately enough, magicians Penn and Teller make an appearance before The Sorcerer's Apprentice. When this piece concludes with Mickey Mouse's conversation with conductor Leopold Stokowski from the original Fantasia, Mickey then moves on to chat with Levine before the latter introduces Pomp and Circumstance. The final sequence of The Firebird is introduced by Angela Lansbury.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

"Fantasia" (1940) [Series] - Recap

Well, that's the end of the material in the collection from "Fantasia" (1940).  Here's a recap of the items posted...


"Fantasia" (1940) [Series] - Disney Autograph, Mickey Cel & Artifacts

More items in the Cowan Collection from "Fantasia"...

UPDATE: 6/3/2010...Through the wonder of communications, I just received an email from Irene Kanelstein with a few corrections. She noted that she did not receive a prize of $300, which way my mistake. The newspaper article stated that she received the cel which was valued at $300. In addition she notes that she sold the item because of the effects of Florida weather on the cel and not, as I had been told, to help raise funds for cancer treatment. It was a thrill to hear from her and the exchange further supports the great power of the internet!

This is my favorite group of items.  In 1941, Disney and the New York Federation of Music Clubs conducted a contest for the best essay entitled "What I Like Best In Fantasia."  The winner, 13 year-old Irene Kanelstein, was given a cel of Mickey as the Sorcerer's Apprentice and a dedication by Walt Disney.  The two items were put together by Courvoisier Galleries.  When I received the artwork, I was surprised to discover on the back of the frame the original essay that Ms. Kanelstein submitted and a newspaper clipping from the June 13, 1941 "New York Times."  We felt that the additional material should be displayed and since the original frame was in poor condition, we had the whole group re-framed and placed side-by-side. Of note, Ms. Kanelstein was also given a $300 prize -- which, using the Consumer Price Index, was worth a little over $4,000 in 2008 dollars.  The cel is great, Walt's note to Ms. Kanelstein is nice and the additional material provides a fantastic back-story to the whole grouping...  The material was the property of Ms. Kenelstein until a few years ago when she sold it at auction to pay for cancer treatments.

Disney Autograph, Mickey Cel and Historical Papers (click to enlarge)


----- DATABASE NOTES -----

From “Fantasia” (1940).  A gouache on celluloid depicts Mickey Mouse instructing a broom to fill up the buckets from THE SORCERER'S APPRENTICE section of the film, applied to a production watercolor background, inscribed lower right “My Best Wishes to Irene Kenelstein - Winner Fantasia Essay Contest  Walt Disney.”  On the back is a .  The consignor won this as a prize for the best essay  on "What I Like Best in Fantasia," a competition put on by the New York Federation of Music Clubs.  Another frame includes the Courvoisier Galleries label stating "This original 'background' and 'cel' painting from the Walt Disney Studios was used in the filming of Fantasia, "the essay that she submitted when she was thirteen years old and a newspaper article from The New York Times, June 13, 1941 entitled "Wins Music Clubs' Prize, Irene Kanelstein, Recipient of the Fantasia Award".  SeqID 1146  8/1/2005

Monday, November 9, 2009

"Fantasia" (1940) [Series] - Sorcerer's Apprentice Multi-Cel Setup On Production Watercolor Background

More items in the Cowan Collection from "Fantasia"...

This is one of the more amazing cel groups we have in the collection.  In all, I think there are more than 4 cels in the grouping (mostly bubble effects) over the watercolor production background.  Since I like to leave a little air space between the cels, I end up getting some uneven surfaces.  This isn't a problem when looking at the artwork, but really becomes a problem when trying to shoot the artwork with a flash!

Mickey Mult-Cel Setup on Production Background (click to enlarge)

A few years ago, I was flipping through Lambert's "Mickey Mouse" that we purchased in 1998 and saw an image very similar to the one we bought in 2000.  Here's a scan of the image from page 222 in his book.  Frankly, it sure looks like the same exact piece....

Mickey Setup on Lambert's Book

----- DATABASE NOTES -----

From "Fantasia" (1940), the Sorcerer's Apprentice sequence.  Mickey, in Sorcerer's hat, trying to bail out water with bucket. [ From Sotheby's: Walt Disney celluloid of Mickey Mouse from "Fantasia," 1940.  The multi-cel setup depicts Mickey Mouse desperately trying to bail out the water from The Sorcerer's Apprentice sequence, applied to an original key watercolor production background, matted and framed.  8.5x10.5 ]   Sotheby's auction 7491, Lot 248.  [Image: 11”W x 9"H;  Frame: 21"W x 18.75"H]   Acquired 2000.  SeqID-0715   Updated: 7/28/2005

Reference: Very close match page 222.  Lambert, Pierre.  Mickey Mouse.  NY: Hyperion, 1998.  ISBN: 0-7868-6453.2.  $150.  Limited edition: 000421.  [13"W x 13"H]  Limited Edition: 000421. Signed: Pierre Lambert.  SeqID 1471

Friday, November 6, 2009

"Fantasia" (1940) [Series] - Leica Reel of Mickey Chopping A Broom

More items in the Cowan Collection from "Fantasia"...

This is really a fantastic little piece...  A small (8"W x 7"H") watercolor storyboard of Mickey chopping a broom in half with an axe.  The color, while subdued, is rich.  The action is well depicted.  And it represents Mickey's reaction to Magic that he can not figure out how to control.  It also represents the start of the entire multiplication sequence that overwhelms Mickey...

Leica Watercolor Storyboard (click to enlarge)

For a fantastic explanation of the Leica Reel, I would refer you to a great posting by Hans Perk and his A Film L.A. blog on the topic.  Here is one page from Hans' posting...  Please follow the link to read the rest of Hans' interesting post.

Page 1 of Hans Perk's Posting on Leica Reel

----- DATABASE NOTES -----

From “Fantasia” (1940).  A watercolor story board for a Leica Reel of Mickey chopping a broom in half with a hatchet.  Back: Nothing.  [Image: 5-1/4"W x 4-1/8"H.  Frame: 8-3/8"W x 7-1/4"H]  SeqID-0716  7/29/2005

NOTE: Image used in Mindy Aloff’s book “Hippo In A Tutu” (SeqID-1953), pg. 98.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

"Fantasia" (1940) [Series] - Mickey Pencil

More items in the Cowan Collection from "Fantasia"...

This is one of my favorite Mickey pencils.  Great character, large image, good expression and representative of one of the key moments as Mickey starts to exert his "power."

Mickey Pencil (click to enlarge)


Here is a similar image from the Disney web site.  Frankly, I like the pencil that we have -- a little more facial expression and I like the hand/finger positioning...

----- DATABASE NOTES -----

From Fantasia (1940), the Sorcerer's Apprentice sequence.  Excellent pose of Mickey in full apprentice costume. Hands outstretched. Looking over his right shoulder with a grin. Hat slightly bent. Stu thinks this is one of the best images of Mickey he's seen.  [9.5”W x 7”H]  SeqID 0039
Reference: In the WD Fantasia book, there is a cel almost identical featured on page 89.  Also very similar image on the Disney web site.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

"Fantasia" (1940) [Series] - Mickey Pencil

More items in the Cowan Collection from "Fantasia"...

This is one of several Mickey pencils that we have.  A nice piece that is low key, but is really a pretty good example of communicating a character's personality without seeing the eyes.

Notice the erasure marks around the hat...  I'm not sure who's initials are on the lower right...

Mickey as Sorcerer's Apprentice (click to enlarge)

----- DATABASE NOTES -----

From “Fantasia” (1940).  A pencil sketch from the Sorcerer's Apprentice sequence.  Mickey as Sorcerer, seated with hat over his eyes.  Notes: "D53  BC"  Stamp: 2004 7.055.0  Good, large image.  Looks like Mickey just fell and is getting himself together.  Nothing on back.  [Unframed Image 12"W X 10"H]  SeqID-0349  8/3/2005

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

"Fantasia" (1940) [Series] - Ava Maria Sequence Cel

More "Fantasia" items from the Cowan Collection...

This is one of the more peaceful and reflective cels in the collection -- the Nuns traveling in the Ava Maria sequence.

There are two cels: one of the Nuns and another of the ground and foreground trees. The background is airbrushed. 

Ava Maria Cel (click to enlarge)

----- DATABASE NOTES -----

From “Fantasia” (1940), the Night on Bald Mountain/Ave Maria sequence.   [ From Sotheby's: Walt Disney celluloid from "Fantasia," 1940.  The gouache on celluloid depicting nuns bearing candles from the Night on Bald Mountain/Ava Maria sequence, applied to an airbrushed background, matted and framed.  8.5x13. Sotheby's auction 7491, Lot 289.   BACK: The Bonfoey Co., Cleveland, OH 216-621-0178.  FRONT: WD (ink) stamp in lower left.   [Image: 13"W x 8-11/16"H]  Acquired 2000.  SeqID-0722  Updated: 7/16/2005

NOTE: Image used in Mindy Aloff’s book “Hippo In A Tutu” (SeqID-1953), pg. 155. “A production cel on a non-production background of the Pilgrims’ Procession in Fantasia’s ‘Ave Maria.’”  Aloff, Mindy. "Hippo In A Tutu: Dance in Disney Animation." Los Angeles, CA: Disney Editions, 2008.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Question About Disney Artist Richard Case

I received the following email and wondered if anyone could supply some additional information...

Hello Robert:

My father in law Richard Case recently passed away at 94.  We have been trying to find any information on Richard Case's early years with Disney Studios back in 1939-1940.  He worked on the backgrounds for cartoon title illustrations, the Ugly Duckling and Fantasia among others.  Is there any data base of early Disney employee's where we could search for information on Richard Case that you may know about?  So far after extensive web searching I am still coming up short.  

We have found an Ugly Duckling Book he had and a group of slides from his cartoon title illustrations among his things.  The bulk of his Disney work was stolen or misplaced in a house move.  We did recently get an email from someone in Colorado who purchased a porky pig drawing signed by Richard Case from an antique shop.  

Any help you can give us would be appreciated. 

Thanks Robert.
John King

If anyone has additional information, please post a comment here and I'll pass it along to Mr. King.

If you have an interest in seeing some of Richard Case's later abstract work, here is the link.

Bob   ;-D